English, and Latin. This essay will discuss

English, like all
languages in the world, has developed due to natural process, language contact
and influenced by historical events. 
Many foreign languages have influenced English over the years changing
it from Old English to Modern English. During the Middle English period, several
languages exerted significant influences and were therefore partly responsible
for the changes brought to English over the years. These languages were Latin,
French and Old Norse. French exerted a significant influence on the English
language. It was also influenced by Roman missionaries who brought up Latin to
English and these languages were mainly responsible for the changes brought to
English over the years. During the period of Norman invention in 1066, French
was brought to England. In this time French was the dominant language and
English was rarely used in writing and started to change in many ways. During
the period of Middle English this image has changed. In this period the
position of French as a spoken language gradually ceased and prestigious forms
of English emerged studded with loanwords from French and Latin. This essay
will discuss about the changing situations of French and English nobilities,
French influence on English and the uprising of English as a prestigious
language against French along with the Latin influence on English in 15th
and 16th century with Humanism.

It is widely accepted
that French culture has had an impact on the Medieval English society in every
respect. After the Norman invasion in 1066, the major part of the English
people had to undergo a linguistic segregation in the fields of justice,
science, arts and literature yet the introduction of the French lexicon
primarily served the upper registers of the language such as texts concerning
the administration, the law and science. This terminology was essentially used
by a small and influential section of French origin people who lived in the
cities and were in charge of the administrative and legal matters as well as by
the important merchant class that developed trade activities in the country.
The power that the aristocracy, the military and the clergy exerted on the
population gave rise to the influence of the French customs on the local
inhabitants. As a result of this the Old English nobility was wiped out and the
French nobility was increased. Baugh and Cable (2005) mentioned that English is
described as an uncultivated tongue and the language of a socially inferior
class in that time. During that time English is only used for parochial
function. According to Horobin & smith (2002), English is used for text for
local readership and primary education. 
These incidents created social differences because Norman French was
treated as the language of royal and upper class while English was considered
as the language of lower class.

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The lexical enrichment of
English started with the passing Anglo French terms into Middle English as
thanks to transfer of words on their simplest level with their form and meaning
unchanged by borrowing in the conversional sense by adopting cases forms into
English from the insular spoken Anglo French. This resulted in the considerable
amount of absorption of French vocabulary into English, which found its basis
on the close interpretation of the Anglo Saxon and Norman societies, giving
rise to a real degree of bilingualism, in which coexisted a lexical contact
issued from the blending of two cultures. Shut- close, stool- chair and kettle
are some examples for the pairs of words both English and French origin. This
bilingual situation was primarily spread to a small number of the population,
the wealthy and cultivated. English was undoubtedly the mother tongue of whole
population and the language that at the spoken level could cover all the
domains understood by every person. “The most important factor in the continued
use of French by the English upper class until the beginning of thirteenth
century was the close connection that existed through all these years between
England and continent… as the kings of England were likewise dukes of Normandy.”
(Baugh and Cable, 2005).

The position of English
has changed with the Humanism though the Norman Conquest of French language
started to be the language of aristocracy including kings, military forces,
landowners and merchants mainly because of the 100 years’ war and Black Death. The
structural influence of French on English is conventionally downplayed. This
caused to create another social difference and to promote the use of English. The
political isolation of England from the continent implied that more and more members
of the ruling class turned to the insular vernacular. Albeit French was the
native language of William Conqueror and his followers, whichever their social
status might be, their descendants having contracted marriage in England with
non- French people were naturally intermingled. This seems to be one of the
facts that French started to lose its status as a vernacular language by
beginning of the thirteenth century. French though widely used for culture was
more readily understood than Latin, which remained a learned language used only
for administrative, legal and religious purposes, as it lacked of native people
unlike English. Hundred years of war is one of most significant incident which
caused to the uprising of English again. As AlGeo (2012) mentions, the hundred
years war in 1337, England and France became enemies and banned use of English
in England. After the victory of England French becomes the language of enemy.
Furthermore Baugh and Cable (2005) mentions that the hundred years of war can
be considered as one of the reasons to disuse of French. This created huge
difference in social mobility as it promoted English while wiping away French.
Black Death (1348-1350) is another significant incident which caused to the
uprising of English again. The condition of villeins gradually improved in the
thirteenth century because of the Black Death.  This caused the death of nearly twenty
million. Most of the priests who knew Latin and French died due to this
epidemic and villeins who knew only English had to become the priests. There
was a huge demand for villeins after that and they became rich and elevated.
Gradually English speaking villeins came to the prominent part of the society.

 As a language gains its importance of the
people who speak it, this new class also undoubtedly led to an increment in the
importance of the language they use.  Although
Norman’s invasion of the country was intentional and predetermined, their
influence on the English language was indirect and the result of the
circumstances. This influence was great that the English language after the
Norman Conquest was very different from the language of Anglo Saxons. The most
important influence the French language had on the English language was the
introduction of too many French words into English. It should be mentioned that
one of the characteristics of Old English was to enlarge its vocabulary chiefly
by using prefixes and suffixes and combining native elements into
self-interpreting compounds. But this habit was somewhat weakened in Middle
English. In many cases where a new word could have easily been formed on a
native model, a French word was borrowed instead. Moreover, English people
borrowed words whose native equivalents existed in their language. McMahon
(1994) states,

“‘The unifying factor
underlying all borrowing is probably that of projected gain; the borrower must
stand to benefit in some way from the transfer of linguistic material. This
gain may be social, since speakers often borrow material from a prestigious
group or it may be more centrally linguistics, in that a speaker may find a
replacement in her second language for a word which has become obsolete or lost
its expressive force. However, the most common and obvious motive for borrowing
is sheer necessity; speakers may have to refer to some unfamiliar object or
concept for which they have no word in their own language.”

Latin has had an enormous
influence on English vocabulary and this influence can be historically and
linguistically traced from before the Germanic invaders arrived in what would
later be known as England.  “The Latin
‘renaissance’ of the 12th century meant widespread use of Latin for documentary
purposes and thus the potential for greater ‘leakage’ from Latin to Middle
English” (Horobin & Smith 2002) . Latin has influenced the English language
in a large amount. Most of the influence has been indirect. The indirect effect
on Latin came mainly after the Normans invaded English in 1066. As mentioned
before their language influenced on English. Since French was a Romance
language descended from Latin, this gave Latin an indirect influence on
English. Although the period of Middle English begins with Norman Conquest and
is most notable for its French influence, Latin words were still being
borrowed. It should also be noted that many of the borrowed French words were
originally derived from Latin words. During this period there were some direct
borrowings from Latin, but there were not as popular as the words borrowed from
French (Baugh & Cable, 2005). During the Middle English period, Latin
contributed English with words such as: clients, conviction, discuss essence,
folio and instant. There would be numerous borrowings of religious words due to
continued use of Latin by the Catholic Church. However great influence on Latin
can be seen with the risen of Humanism. 
Humanism is characterized by a lot of inventions in arts, philosophy and
humanities which brought about scientific knowledge. Use of Latin loan words in
humanistic works can be seen in the 15th and 16th
centuries. Furthermore 16th century onwards Latin is used for educational
purposes. In this period Latin became a very prestigious form because of its
often effect on the risen of Humanism in the 15th and 16th
centuries.

In conclusion, it should
be mentioned that in spite of the great number of French loan words, the common
core of the English vocabulary and most the words which belong to everyday
language are still in English. Even if it is difficult to determine if some
words were borrowed directly from Latin, it is proved that Latin borrowings
have played an enormous role in the creation of Modern English. This influence
continued thorough all periods of English and even continues today. The English
language would be unrecognizable if we were to not use words of Latin origin.
Although English is clearly a Germanic and does not belong in the roman family,
it will be forever bound to Latin. Finally, it is worthy to mention that
English has become a rich language thanks to the contact with other ones
specially transmitted by people of different origins living in English speaking
countries.